Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

By HomeAdvisor

Updated July 12, 2021


© Dmytro Synelnychenko/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images.
© R.Tsubin/Moment/Getty Images.

Quartz and granite are both excellent choices for bathroom or kitchen countertops. Granite has a more natural look but is often more expensive, while quartz is more budget-friendly but looks a little more artificial. Granite is more resistant to heat, while quartz is more resistant to staining. Use our guide to the differences between quartz and granite to decide which material is the best option for your new counters.

On This Page:

    1. What’s the Difference Between Quartz and Granite?
      1. Quartz
        1. Engineered Quartz
        2. Quartzite
      2. Granite
    2. Quartz vs. Granite: Which is Better?
      1. Appearance and Colors
      2. Cost
      3. Installation/DIY
      4. Care
      5. Durability and Hardness
      6. Heat Resistance
      7. Moisture Resistance
      8. Repair and Maintenance
      9. Environmental Friendliness
      10. Resale Value
    3. Which is Best For Your Home?
      1. For Bathroom Countertops
      2. For Kitchen Worktops
      3. For Remodeling on a Budget
    4. Granite vs. Quartz vs. Other Countertop Materials
      1. Marble
      2. Solid Surface
      3. Laminate
      4. Concrete
    5. Stone Fabricators and Dealers
Ready to start your countertop installation?

What’s the Difference Between Quartz and Granite?

Granite is naturally occurring and is mined from the earth in large slabs. Quartz for countertops is available as engineered quartz or quartzite. Quartzite is natural, like granite. But engineered quartz is essentially crushed rocks and minerals set in resin.

Quartz

Quartz is a mineral that forms when silicon crystallizes. It’s the second most abundant material in the Earth’s crust after feldspar. You’ll find quartz in almost all types of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Natural quartz countertops are, in fact, quartzite, while standard quartz worktops are engineered quartz.

In this guide, unless otherwise noted, we’ll be talking about engineered quartz.

Engineered Quartz

Engineered quartz is a blend of crushed rocks that contain quartz and resin. Up to 90% of the composition is crushed quartz rocks, while the rest is resin to bind and hold the quartz in the required form. This engineered stone is “baked” into slabs in factories using synthetic polymer resins and pigments to color the slabs.

Because of its synthetic nature, engineered quartz is available in more colors and patterns than any natural stone, including quartzite and granite.

Quartzite

Quartzite is a natural stone. It’s a metamorphic rock that started out as sandstone and metamorphosed into quartzite under intense heat and pressure. It’s mined from the Earth in large slabs. Quartzite usually has a slightly rough texture to it, which gives counters an organic vibe.

Granite

Granite is an igneous rock that was formed from cooling magma. It contains lots of quartz and feldspar, along with other minerals, which gives it its distinctive look. Like quartzite, it is mined in huge slabs.

Quartz vs. Granite: Which is Better?

Quartz and granite both have many positives that make them popular choices for bathroom and kitchen remodels. Let’s take a look at which one comes out on top in each of the most important considerations.

Appearance and Colors

The Most Natural Looking: Granite

Appearance isn’t everything, but it does have significant impact on your home’s resale value and how much pleasure you take from your space. If you’re going to invest in new kitchen counters, then they should please your sense of style.

Quartz

Pros

  • Can be dyed to any color
  • Can have any pattern added
  • More consistent appearance that hides seams better


Cons

  • Color may fade with long-term UV exposure
  • Even “natural-look” quartz looks more manufactured than real stone



Granite

Pros

  • Has a distinctive natural appearance
  • Each slab is unique
  • Lots of natural hues available


Cons

  • Only natural colors available
  • Naturally occurring imperfections
  • Seams are more visible


Cost

Most Affordable: Granite

Cost is a significant factor when choosing a countertop material. If you really want a quartz or granite countertop but the price is prohibitive on a large scale, think about using this material just on an island or as a feature worktop.

Quartz

Quartz cost per square foot: $50-$100 without installation

Factors that influence cost:

  • Special edges including eased, beveledand bullnose
  • Seam joining
  • Custom-dyed resin
  • Custom patterns or veining

Granite

Granite cost per square foot: $40-$60 without installation

Factors that influence cost:

  • Larger slabs
  • Unusual colors
Ready to start your countertop installation?

Installation/DIY

Professional Installation: Tie

Each type of material has a different set of challenges when it comes to installation. Because both quartz and granite are largely constructed of real stone, they are exceptionally heavy, challenging to work with, and not suitable for DIY installation.

Quartz

Pros

  • Manufactured to fit exactly
  • Installation not as time-consuming as with natural stone
  • Resin is non-porous: No sealing required at installation


Cons

  • Cabinets need reinforcing due to weight
  • Aligning cutouts is challenging
  • Requires specialized equipment to transport and move stone



Granite

Pros

  • Manufacturer pre-cuts slabs to make installation easier


Cons

Cons

  • Small mistakes in measuring could mean recutting
  • Requires careful transportation as it is vulnerable to cracking
  • Extremely heavy. Cabinets require reinforcement to support countertop weight


Care

Easiest Upkeep: Quartz

Kitchen or bathroom worktops need to be easy to clean to minimize bacteria buildup and staining. Granite and quartz are both strong contenders here.

Quartz

Pros

  • Non-porous, highly resistant to staining
  • Resistant to bacteria growth
  • Does not require resealing


Cons

  • Dark, dyed liquids will stain if not wiped away quickly



Granite

Pros

  • If cared for properly, granite will last a lifetime
  • Can be kept free of bacteria as long as the seal remains intact
  • Can cut and prep food directly on the sealed surface without fear of scratching


Cons

  • Requires regular sealing to resist absorption
  • Porous: Liquids will be absorbed quickly if not properly sealed
  • Cleaning needs to be done regularly to inhibit bacteria growth


Durability and Hardness

The Tougher of the Two: Quartz

Kitchen and bathroom counters put up with a lot. They need to be durable and hardwearing enough to withstand dropped pots, scratches from knives, and chipping or cracking from kitchen implements.

Quartz

Pros

  • Engineered to be durable
  • More flexible than regular stone: Less prone to breaking


Cons

  • Not scratch proof, only scratch-resistant
  • Scratches are more visible due to uniform color



Granite

Pros

  • Strong enough to resist chipping and scratching from kitchen utensils


Cons

  • Countertop edges and corners are vulnerable to chipping
  • Chipping can occur anywhere on the counter from hard objects
  • Difficult to repair



quartz countertop in home kitchen
© John Keeble/Moment/Getty Images.

Heat Resistance

The Most Heat Resistant: Granite

Whether in the kitchen or the bathroom, your countertops will be exposed to heat, in the form of hot curling irons or pots from the stove. So you need to understand whether your chosen material can tolerate this much heat or if you’ll need to use hot pads.

Quartz Granite
Can handle temperatures to 150 degrees Will not discolor if a pot is placed directly on the countertop
Resin used can discolor when exposed to high heats Thermal shock may crack the granite. Use a hot pad
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Moisture Resistance

Most Resistant to Moisture and Staining: Quartz

Moisture resistance is an important factor when it comes to countertops. You’ll inevitably have spills and expose the countertops to liquids.

Quartz

Pros

  • Non-porous and will not absorb moisture


Cons

  • Dark-colored liquids could discolor the quartz



Granite

Pros

  • Resistant to moisture if sealed correctly


Cons

  • Needs resealing regularly
  • Staining can occur from moisture remaining on the surface for any length of time


Repair and Maintenance

Easier to Repair: Granite

However tough your worktops, they will need some type of ongoing maintenance, and they may eventually need repair. Granite and quartz are both tough and resilient.

Quartz

Pros

  • Small scratches can be easily repaired with epoxy kits
  • Naturally shiny. Doesn’t need to be polished
  • No need to use chemicals to clean with. Use a mild soap or detergent


Cons

  • Cracks are difficult to repair. Consistent coloring makes them visible
  • Heat discoloration is permanent



Granite

Pros

  • Minor scratches can be repaired by polishing the surface


Cons

  • A professional is required to ensure a high-quality finish
  • Don’t clean with dish soap, it will cause a residue build-up


Environmental Friendliness

The Greener Choice: Quartz

Environmental friendliness is something many of us think about before we make a purchase, and that extends to remodeling and construction projects, too.

Quartz Granite
Made from crushed rock: Makes mining easier To mine and transport large pieces of natural stone takes energy and increases the carbon footprint
Waste product from other industries can be used for making engineered quartz slabs Look for locally sourced stone
Use remnants if flexible with color

Resale Value

Which is More Likely to Pay for Itself: Granite

Even if you have no immediate plans to sell your property, it’s still worth considering what value your new kitchen or bathroom counters will add to your home.

Quartz Granite
Newer to the home renovation scene, it has a weaker reputation Very sought out by buyers
Expect to get close to the initial investment Can add value equal to 100% of their original cost

Quartz vs. Granite: Which is Best For Your Home?

Granite and quartz both have many attractive qualities. They’re durable, long-lasting, and add value to your home. One key factor that should influence your decision is which room you’re remodeling. If you’re still unsure, speak to a local countertop installer.

For Bathroom Countertops

In the bathroom, quartz wins. Its non-porous nature means that it’s impervious to water damage. Quartz also won’t stain or incur marks from toothpaste, shampoo and other bathroom essentials. Plus, it’s easy to clean and keep germ-free.

For Kitchen Worktops

In the kitchen, granite wins for longevity and heat resistance. You can stand a hot pan on the counter and not worry about permanently damaging the finish. Yes, granite needs to be resealed periodically to remain moisture resistant, but its other qualities make it a top choice for the kitchen.

For Remodeling On a Budget

Granite is the most budget-friendly compared to quartz. It costs $40-$60 per square foot for materials, whereas quartz costs $50-$100 per square foot.

Ready to start your countertop installation?
granite countertop in a home kitchen
© grandriver/E+/Getty Images.

Granite vs. Quartz vs. Other Countertop Materials

There are plenty of alternatives to granite and quartz. You’re not just limited to natural stone and engineered stone look-alikes.

Vs. Marble

Marble is beautiful and is considered supremely elegant. However, it’s not the best kitchen or bathroom countertop material. It scratches easily, is very porous and is susceptible to damage from acidic foods and commercial cleaners. It’s also expensive and high-maintenance.

Vs. Solid Surface

Solid surface is affordable compared to granite and quartz. It’s functional but basic and, while it does provide a usable work surface, it doesn’t elevate your property in the same way as natural or engineered stone.

On the other hand, your choices of colors and patterns are much wider than with granite. And it’s reasonably easy to repair yourself. If the worktop incurs damage, you can simply sand out the scratches.

Vs. Laminate

Laminate countertops cost a fraction of the price of real stone or resin. It’s another basic but functional option that has a lot of color and style options. It cannot be easily repaired and is not heat-resistant. However, if you are working on a tight budget, this could be a good option.

Vs. Concrete

Concrete countertops cost less than quartz and granite, so make a good compromise when you want something solid but don’t want to blow your whole budget on stone.

Concrete is heat-resistant and can be dyed or textured to your specifications. However, it is porous, so it does need regular resealing.

Stone Fabricators and Dealers

Do your due diligence when searching for a stone fabricator and hiring a countertop installer for your project. If you don’t want to deal with a fabricator yourself, you can find a contractor who can provide the countertop material as well as perform the installation.

Top Granite Suppliers Top Quartz Countertop Brands
Global Caesarstone
Mont Cambria
Helios Silestone
Granite Granite Inc. Pentalquartz
Hanstone
Ready to start your countertop installation?

14 Comments

  1. Tara, September 27:

    Here is a good comparison of granite and Quartz

  2. Michael, January 18:

    We had a black polished granite countertop for the 12 years we lived in our last house. We never sealed it. During all of that time it never showed a scratch or stain and was very easy to maintain. It looked as good when we moved out as it did when we moved in. By contrast, we have friends with quartz countertops who complain about glass rings and staining. I don’t know how to reconcile this experience with some of the comments in this good article.

  3. Ted, February 1:

    Our granite counters are now 21 years old. They have never been sealed. The only maintenance has been a damp sponge and paper towels to keep it clean. Spills clean up perfectly and effortlessly. Hot pots have no effect. There is not a single scratch or ring. It looks like it was installed yesterday. Not sure where your writer is getting his data, but our experience with granite has been quite different.

    Is there any data on longer term deterioration of the plastic resin that binds the Quartz particles. If its like other polyester resins in my experience, it may need a lot of restoration to look new in a decade or two. Granite is already a few million years old, so I would be surprised if another millennium or two would matter.

  4. Lenora, April 24:

    Friends built a house in 2014, same year we did. Now 5 years later, our unique, one of a kind granite counters still look stunning and without a single blemish. Hot pots and frying pans right off the stove were never a problem. My friend, however, with quartz has had rings, uneven spots, and damaged areas. So very glad I chose granite!

  5. Steven Anschel, July 5:

    We have a dark blue speckled Silestone countertop in our kitchen that after 15 years looks like new even though we place hot pots on it regularly. It requires no maintenance other than dusting.

  6. Rob, July 5:

    We have engineered quartz in our kitchen, granite countertops in one bathroom and the laundry room. and marble in another bathroom. The marble is definitely the most susceptible to scratches and staining. The granite has been durable but is definitely susceptible to staining from liquids, which must be wiped up quickly (we should probably reseal soon). The engineered quartz is definitely the best choice for the kitchen, with no stains, scratches, or damage of any kind. Of course, we never use it as a cutting surface, and we always use trivets for anything hot. It looks great after two years — and we’re hoping it will continue to look great into the future.

  7. Jennifer Whitley, July 5:

    My husband is a custom builder of 30 years and I work for him. We are in the process of building our 5th and last personal home. I will be going with granite throughout–quartz was manufactured to look like granite, so why mess with the original? We’ve had granite in our last 3 homes and I love the one of a kind characteristics and durability. Most installers now apply a 10 year sealer and even if they didn’t, I believe the absorption properties of granite are misleading. We have never had a problem.

  8. Joanna, July 5:

    Our quartz countertops are rich looking in white with gray marking. I dropped coffee, wine, oil and never had a stain. After 11 years, they look like a million and never worry about bacteria hiding in holes like granite.

  9. Lyt4u, July 5:

    Having used both granite and quartz in the kitchen, I feel it’s important to compare heat resistance. For example, though quartz is tough it can only withstand 150 degrees F because of the resins in quartz. Where as you can use a blowtorch on granite and nothing will happen making granite’s heat resistance far superior for a cook’s kitchen. There is also the subject of etching from acids in vinegar, citrus and some soaps for example. Quartz can be prone to liquids like these etching the surface. Typically, polished granite is not as effected except by rust remover products with hydrofluoric acid. Left on granite, they can etch. I have found that acids used daily in food prep like, vinegar, lemon, lime or tomato juice do not etch polished granite. No matter what the trends may be, I feel granite is the superior investment in a truly working kitchen.

  10. Stan Sexton, July 5:

    My granite countertop around the sink is broken by moisture intrusion through the gap between the sink rim and the countertop. Three mistakes were made by the installer. First, too much gap between the sink rim and granite. Second, the use of cheap interior plywood under the granite. I’m using a 4×8 sheet of 3/4″ plastic in the next install because plywood with water “explodes”. Plastic is waterproof. Third, never use sanded grout between the granite and sink rim. Sanded grout is porous and will decay rapidly. Use clear silicone seal instead. Lather it on the sink rim so moisture will never intrude. All 3 of these demands will make your installer crazy but it’s your house. Buy the plastic sheet and silicone seal yourself.

  11. Wayne, July 5:

    During a kitchen remodel in 2006, we installed granite countertops to replace the original beveled-edge laminate countertops. The other options were available then, as now, with Silestone and Cambria as two of the big names in quartz, along with the solid surface suppliers. The selection of granite was actually quite easy: all of the competition were trying to mimic the real deal: that is, natural stone, but make it more homogeneous in appearance. Installation on any of the types greatly affects how they look and maintain: we had a good solid based even though it was on floor joists (vs concrete slab) that maintained the seams without movement or cracking. When we sold the house in 2019, the countertops looked as good as the day of installation: no scratches, marks, blemishes, cracks or gaps. We did regular cleaning after use and did seal occasionally because that’s what the instruction stated. We loved the look of natural stone with the swirls, twists, and sparkle, which is not available in the competing products; that stated, there are some cuts of granite that we did not like. It was more cost effective that quartz or solid surface products. Overall, we would choose granite again over any of the competing products.

  12. Fran, July 6:

    Our granite countertops were installed in both our kitchen and bathroom as part of a large house renovation six and a half years ago. The look is beautiful – swirling shades of gray, black and white which could never be achieved with quartz. We have never had it sealed. There is not one stain on the counters and it is scratch free, despite heavy and frequent cooking with high stain ingredients such as coffee and blueberries. My feeling is that the recommendation to refinish every couple of years is sales-hype.

  13. Herby lngrahnm, July 6:

    I was also all concerned about the resealing maintenance of granite, but mine do not show any indication of porosity and doesn’t stain. Haven’t bothered resealing as it doesn’t seem necessary. It all depends on the slab you get, most likely.

  14. Jaquidon, October 22:

    Experience with granite being porous varies because natural stone varies in porosity. Yes, it depends on the slab. Granite is not one thing, think of it like a mixture of all the different little pieces (these are minerals that make up the rock) There can be space between them. Proper sealing is crucial. The standard wipe on, wipe off that installers do is not sufficient if you get a porous slab. Wipe on the sealer enough to puddle, let it sit for 30 min to an hour, wipe off, wait an hour, repeat. My experience – after ruining a windowsill with bacon grease ring (very porous slab), we sealed it all properly and never had another problem. I lucked out on where that bacon grease went.

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